Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas


Christmas

I was busy on Christmas Eve, writing the third installment of the Mandela Effect when the missus and I got into a discussion about the commercialization of the “Holiday”. So I thought I’d take a break and note a few things about it. See, she spent pretty well all her life in the retail business, workin’ every Christmas Eve an’ Boxing Day, so she don’t have too healthy an outlook on the event. Well who would, strappin’ on all them fancy clothes an’ smilin’ for all them grouchy customers whose credit cards are more or less maxed out an’ they still gotta drive home in impossible traffic if they ever get through the checkout.

So I’m listenin’ to the news this mornin’ an’ they’re talkin’ about the stores losin’ millions o’ dollars this year ‘cause o’ the dang busted inclement weather down east. The airlines are gonna feel the hurt over the dang busted inclement weather down east too. It seems that it was the weather that stole Christmas, not the Grinch.

Well now, just hold ‘er a minute there Newt! Just what in the H E Double hockey sticks are we celebratin’ here anyways? Listen, I was always under the impression that if it’s somebody’s birthday celebration an’ you’re invited to the party, you’re supposed to bring ‘em a gift. I was sayin’ that on the day he was born, Jesus got some gold, some myrrh, an’ some frankincense. That was over two thousand years ago and he ain’t got diddly squat since. Oh, except for thirty years or so later, he got some nails an’ a cross, but otherwise – nothin’, nada.

So how did this all get turned around? How is it that on this special day we get all the gifts that the retailers have stuffed down our throats an’ there’s nothin left over for Jesus? Okay, okay, I know he’s dead in the normal sense. But accordin’ to the scriptures, he ain’t dead at all. Chapter an’ verse has been written about his resurrection an’ all that. You can read all about it right there in the New Testament an’ draw yer own conclusions. Watching Christmas mass bein’ celebrated last night in a multi gazillion dollar cathedral with the cardinals an’ deacons an’ priests all in their finery seemed to me to be a little over the top too. I found myself wonderin’ what the people in attendance were thinkin’ with all this pageantry. The one bright light in the whole business is that the new pope is a man of the people an’ he already shows signs of bringing his church to the people rather than the other way around. Just when you get totally cynical ‘bout how the world is goin’ to hell in a hand basket, a new hope springs up. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

 

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Mandela Effect Part II


The Mandela Effect – Part II

If only Mandela had been able to live another ninety-five years, South Africa and the world would be in better shape. If ever there was a time one would wish for a spirit power to descend upon the earth, it would be now. There is a resurgence of all that Mandela stood for throughout the land, and yet it is waning as people say “What will we do now that he is gone?”

And they wait for another giant to come along to rescue them from themselves. If anything improves as a result of Mandela’s life, it will only be marginal at best. People have a natural tendency to follow the leader and when the leader is gone, they look for a new one. It's one of the flaws of human nature. It's what natural leaders count on to keep them at the head of the pack. Perhaps the people may be right to do so. After all, that’s roughly how Mandela rose from the ashes of Africa to govern over the nation. Perhaps there is another Mandela somewhere in Africa to do the same. And so they wait.

Should no one emerge to take up the reins, there are enough people in abject poverty to begin a groundswell for change. We know the government is corrupt and it is busy entrenching itself in much the same manner as Mugabe has done. They shouldn’t be too complacent though because it is in recent memory that Mandela and the ANC, at its wit’s end, took the help from Cuba and armed itself. When the whites saw their white brothers lying dead in the street much as had been the case for their black counterparts up until then, they did the math and there was a sudden big move to end apartheid.

Things are a bit different now. The color lines are now somewhat blurred. You don’t have the advantage of color differences so much anymore to make it easy to see who’s doing what, but don’t you believe for one minute the people don’t know who in the government is corrupt and who is stealing from them. And don’t you believe for one minute that there aren’t countries out there that would help them in their cause either.

There seems to be a lull in South African society right now in deference to Mandela. But it almost seems like the calm before the storm. I am very much afraid that unless the government and all the NGO’s begin to move in the direction that Mandela has set out for them, there will be a storm unlike anything that South Africa has seen before. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’. 

 

 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Mandela Effect


The Mandela Effect Part I

 

Even in death, Mandela lifts our hearts and our spirits in hope and determination to take up the mantel he cast off while he now sleeps. The air around the world is charged with his indomitable spirit. It’s as though he has gripped our minds and our spirits to infuse them with his philosophies. It’s perhaps a final call to arms in the battle between right and wrong.

How long will this last? It’s hard to say but I don’t expect any residual effects on the government officials who attended the memorial service. Already Adrienne Clarkson was spouting off about neither Brian Mulroney nor Stephen Harper being asked to speak at the event. And then the antics of Barrack Obama didn’t contribute anything to the memorial either. Quite frankly, the whole business reminded me of what we see in Mafia style funerals where competing families get together to make new alliances and forge new underground deals.

To his credit, Mulroney has his personal friendship with Mandela that no one can take away from him and is satisfied with his memories of that. I and many others who have lost friends understand that clearly. It’s not something that the arbiters of governments would cotton on to. And the elegant wordsmith Steven Lewis doesn’t give a rip about any of the shenanigans at the memorial either. He went over to Mrs. Mandela directly and they had a quiet, meaningful conversation.

It’s like the two solitudes really, well perhaps three. While Desmond Tutu traveled to the memorial to speak to it, his house was broken into and he was robbed - again. Now the diminutive Tutu is as much a giant as Mandela ever was and certainly an iconic figure in South Africa as well as the rest of the world. He has certainly had a lot to do with the abolishment of apartheid as evidenced in his writings and the robbery is a shame upon the perpetrators and a dark canker on the character of South Africa.

Yet the general populous of South Africa as well as the rest of the world are thankful for the presence of Mandela, this moral giant in their/our midst for all these years and I shouldn’t be surprised that he has a positive effect on us all for years to come. He and others laid out the path to freedom and equality for everyone as you will see in part II of this series. The indigenous populations of the world would do well to pay attention. There is a way to achieve the Rainbow Society and it has been clearly illustrated. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

What's in a Birthday


What’s in a Birthday?

There was a whole bunch o’ birthday celebrations this past week. In fact there’s a whole bunch more comin’ up in the next month – not countin’ the big one. That got me to thinkin’ about how things revolve over the years an’ come back full circle.

Everybody remembers throwin’ a big party for the child’s first birthday, except for the kid that is. Grandmas an’ Grandpas show up with all kinds o’ gifts. The aunties an’ uncles pile in with presents for the baby who hasn’t got a clue as to what’s goin’ on an’ starts to bawl with all the noise. After the party is all over mom has to clean up the mess in the kitchen an’ dad has to find a place for all the useless toys he can’t play with himself. It’s been a great party for all the adults an’ the birthday child is sound asleep as though nothin’ happened.

By the time the kid gets into kindergarten things have changed somewhat. Now the brat knows he/she is getting’ presents. An’ the presents are different too. They’re actually meant for kids an’ so they have a whale of a time playin’ with ‘em to the point that when it’s all over the house is a total wreck. (Well it’s only once a year).

A few years go by an’ the kids are now placing their orders for the gifts they want. It’s credit card time. An’ the older they get, the bigger the credit card bill. You just want to hope it don’t interfere with Christmas. A while back one of my grandsons ordered an ATM an’ he wanted it full o’ money too. Well that’s how these things go. When you get into the teen years you just give ‘em gift cards an’ send ‘em off to the mall. That beats embarrassin’ them an’ you an’ lets ‘em get more or less what they been hankerin’ for anyways.

Slowly as time goes by an’ the brats get older you see the tide turnin’. The parties have moved to the bar an’ the gifts are a lot smaller an’ they’re in for a few years of hangovers before the whole thing gets borin’ an’ not all that much fun anymore. It all seems to fizzle out a bit, which may have somethin’ to do with the threat of agin’.

Fast forward a few years an’ you find the kids are now hostin’ birthday parties for their parents. Well it’s about time too. I don’t know if the old folks can’t remember their birthdays or just don’t want to know about them nomore. Well, tradition’s gotta continue so they invite some of the parents friends an’ relatives to come for lunch an’ conversation. That’s pretty well as much as the old geysers can handle anyways. An’ it’s gotta be between two an’ four p.m. cause most old folks need a noon-time nap before all that activity, an’ none of ‘em drive in the dark afterwards neither.

So the whole business ends up as it once began. It’s come full circle as it were. We still got the same players as when the kids were little. The only difference is that now the kids know what’s goin’ on and the old geysers haven’t got a clue. They just sit there an’ jabber away enjoyin’ thereselves an’ in the end a good time was had by all. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Moral Bank Account


A Moral Bank Account

Some of us have memory issues because we’re old farts an’ can’t focus properly nomore. Others have memory issues ‘cause they’re too lazy to focus on what they’re doin’. An’ still others have memory issues cause they’re so full o’ themselves anythin’ that don’t relate to them ain’t important enough to remember. All o’ that spells moral bankruptcy don’t it? (Well, all but us old farts anyways).

That’s what was goin’ through my mind while I looked up memory an’ visualization on the Google for somebody. Of course, I’d forgot about that too until the subject came up. But once I focused on it, it led me in another direction. Well I know what got me started on morals, but I’d rather not discuss it. Suffice it to say that through visualization we can convert our morals into, say, an interest bearin’ savin’s bank account. We’re all born with a certain number of credits in the account, maybe because we’re cute, or sleep a lot, or whatever. Anyways, we collect interest on that capital, an’ as we add to it, the interest grows at an alarmin’ rate. All of a sudden we find ourselves loved an’ respected an’ embraced by all who know us. Our moral bank account is in good shape! We’re rich!

An what’s the capital we must invest in our moral bank account? Well, a little bit of love for others for one thing, an’ respect, some truth, a bit of courage an’ some honesty an maybe even a little common sense an’ lastly some wisdom. These are all things that everyone has already  got an’ if not, they are things that can easily be acquired. You just gotta put them in your moral bank account an’ watch the interest grow. It ain’t that hard.

But should you withdraw that capital from yer account an’ perhaps invest in other pursuits such as amassing things an’ comforts for your own personal gain an’ at somebody else’s expense, there won’t be nothin’ to gather interest on in the moral bank account, now will there? See, that’s pretty straight forward. If ya don’t bring any o’ that stuff into a relationship (whatever that relationship might happen to be) there ain’t goin’ to be any interest in you or anythin’ you got to offer cause you ain’t got nothin’ to offer. You’ll be sittin’ there all by yerself with yer possessions an’ nobody to share ‘em with. Simple as that.

I never seen a capital investment that costs so little to establish an’ that bears such high interest to the investor. In my book it ought to be the first priority to personal enrichment. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.  

 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Breast fed is best fed


Breast fed is best fed

It looks like the condensed milk industry is goin’ to be takin’ another hit if the Brits have anythin’ to do with it. It originally came into bein’ as a means of non-spoilin’ storage of dairy milk an’ had it’s hay day durin’ wars an’ such when soldiers needed nourishment an’ had no proper means of storage for it. It was a pretty good deal at the time but it had it’s ups an’ downs with wars comin’ an’ goin’. With the money invested in condensing equipment, in land and cattle breeding for the finest milk an’ wars goin’ south, it was a risky business at best.

In between wars it wasn’t too long before the producers of this stuff figgered out that you could feed it to babies out of a bottle. Just think of the benefits of that! Now millions of infants whose mothers’ milk lacks the necessary nutrition can have a chance at survival. Hold on now. To a certain extent that’s true, especially in third world countries where the mothers’ nutrition is lacking. But mothers in the developed countries glommed onto this like a magnet. That meant they could send dad to feed the baby any time of day or night an’ they could go about their business, whatever that might be. All you needed to do was to prepare the formula ahead of time an’ Bob’s yer Uncle. Even the babysitter could do that! Suddenly there was a freedom never before even thought of. It was like Borden an’ Carnation had single handedly emancipated women from the drudgery of feedin’ their offspring. How ‘bout that!

Now, about fifty years later we find that the baby boomers and subsequent issues of children are all pretty much defective. Well, to the degree that they get all sorts of diseases, their bones crumple prematurely, an’ all sundry other maladies. They’re droppin’ like flies at early ages an’ they don’t have the strength an’ stamina of their ancestors. Now that seems remarkable since you’d figure all this scientific advancement would have the opposite effect.

Scientists in the U.K. have suddenly figured out that it’s all because of the lack of breast-feeding. Well, I’ll be! So that’s what them lumps that girls tend to get at about the age of puberty are for. Who knew? It flies in the face of everything we have come to believe in: i.e. that they’re some sort of handles for men to grope or some kind of magnet to attract members of the opposite sex. But breast-feeding? BREAST FEEDING?  You know what that means don’t you? That means that the mothers of these infants will have to personally provide breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks to these little critters. They might even have to do it in public from time to time, God forbid. As they would say in India, BLOODY HELL! Do you mean to tell me that we are reverting to archaic means of feeding our young in ways to give them both nourishment and immunities to last them a lifetime? This hasn’t been done since WWII for heaven’s sakes!

Many will say that the Brits have stepped over the line this time, abandoning a long established set of civilities in favor of archaic methods of human survival. Good Lord, what’s next, healthy living? Breast-fed is best fed, they say. They’re even willin’ to pay the mothers for it, that’s how sure they are. I’d put my money on the Brits idea any day and the civilities and other clap-trap can go south an’ pick chips. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Prophets of Doom


Prophets of Doom

That’s what journalists have become – prophets of doom. An’ their publishers would then be the beneficiaries of profits of doom – same thing, I suppose. Everywhere you look there’s bad news. That’s what makes good news so strikin’ when you see it. It’s so rare that you do a double take upon comin’ acrosst it. Makes me wonder what the news would be like if the protocol was reversed. It might just re-introduce the true shock value of hearin’ about the bad things in the news. We might not be just so nonchalant about the bad things that happen on a daily basis.

Me an’ the missus was just talkin’ about that this mornin’ an’ that’s the conclusion we come to anyways. Well just think about it. We’d get so used to hearing about good an’ happy things we might just start to think that’s the norm. An’ don’t think we’d get bored with it neither! By the time you got finished readin’ the news each mornin’ or evenin’ you’d have such a smile on yer kisser it’d be hard to wipe it off.

An’ I ain’t the only one sayin’ it neither! Back in 1983 Anne Murray sang a song about it. I remember it well. It was called ‘A Little Good News’. We all said a collective ‘Yeah’, and then just as collectively forgot about it as it faded into the dingy world of bad news. So much for that!

Are we really so tuned in to other people’s misery that we can’t resist it or is our obsession the product of the journalists and’ their journals? Well, the likes of Rupert Murdock would have us believe so. Otherwise he wouldn’t go to the lengths he does to produce this garbage. He has people fallin’ under the bus left, right an’ center in pursuin’ this tack, an’ still continues. Of course this ain’t new at all. It’s all been goin’ on for the longest time. Maybe that’s it. Bad an’ news are somehow linked together. We’re so used to it that we’ve come to expect it. An’ if we don’t get our daily fix o’ misery we think somethin’ is missin’.

It’s not that there ain’t enough good news to go around. When you start rootin’ it out, there’s lots of it – everywhere you look. What you can’t find is the journalist who will write about it or the news media that will publish it. It’s really too bad because the benefits of publishing good news would be like givin’ folks a happy pill as a daily diet. You’d have people smilin’ an’ laughin’ all day long. There’d be a story to capture somebody’s fancy an’ put them in a good frame o’ mind. An’ when a bad news story is told, the shock value would smack us right in the face, restorin’ it in our minds in its proper perspective. Now that in itself is a good news story. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

 

 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Who Wears the Pants


Who Wears the Pants

There’s certain traditions attached to each way of life according to the culture in which it’s set. I’m talkin’ about the matriarchal system vs. patriarchal models. Well there used to be certain traditions attached to them. These days though, the lines are becoming somewhat blurred. It’s a matter of who makes the decisions about the important things.

Of course, each gender has its own ideas of who the decision makers ought to be. Well that’s only natural. It’s probably at the root of most family arguments. Of course when you’re retired, the dynamic changes somewhat. All the years I was workin’ I never came out of the bathroom to be confronted by the vacuum cleaner standin’ right on the other side o’ the door, for example, waitin’ for me to do the cleanin’. Well it’s little things like that you notice.

Then of course there’s the laundry business. There ain’t a time goes by the missus don’t come back with a story about an elderly couple doing their laundry together. It’s so sweet, she says. They’re laughin’ an’ talkin’ an’ havin’ fun doin’ it. Of course I know what’s on the wife’s mind. We’ll be doin’ laundry together an’ first thing you know, I’ll be doin’ it by myself. It’s a constant battle of wits to stay ahead o’ the game.

An’ speakin’ of laundry, the other day I go into my closet to fetch a pair of my comfortable pants to get dressed for the day. Guess what? No pants! NO PANTS! Well, that ain’t really true neither. I got my suit pants an’ my dress pants, but who wants to wear them around the house? An’ then there’s a couple o’ pairs o’ heavy winter cords that used to fit last year. Gravity has fixed that so now they got to go to the tailor’s.

“Where’s my pants?” I ask the missus none too politely.

“Put away!” she shoots back in similar style.

“Since when do you get to hide my pants on me?” I want to know.

“Since it’s not summer anymore! You’ll look like an idiot wearin’ them pants at this time o’ year an’ you’re not going out with ME lookin’ like THAT!”

“Oh.” It took me a minute to catch my breath.

I regain my composure an’ come back kinda cocky-like: “Listen lady, far as I know I still wear the pants in the family so keep your hands off them.”

She smiles at me sweetly an’ I know I’m sunk even before she opens her mouth an’ demurely says; “Of course you wear the pants in the family dear, but you’ll wear the pants I put out for you.”

Well that’s it then. I’ve finally learned the lesson of how it is that men wear the pants in the family, Or at least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’,

 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

One Stop Shop


One Stop Shop 

Well how do you like them apples! I got the flu shot this mornin’ – in church! Now there’s a switch! What I usually get there is hellfire an’ brimstone an’ the collection plate passed. Oh I do get a couple’a hymns to clear my throat with the package, but since my voice has about bit the dust, that don’t help much.

But this now is somethin’ brand new. I guess rentin’ out the church for this kind of activity is a good alternative to bingo night. Not only that, but it brings a whole raft o’ new people to the church. Who knows what they’ll think when they get there? Could be a bunch o’ new members.

So anyways I get there an’ the parkin’ lot is near to full, but I manage. At the door there’s signs directin’ you to the big hall where it’s all at an’ there’s a bunch o’ women dressed in them lime green vests with a big “X” acrosst the back like the road construction traffic controllers. They’re right friendly too an’ invite me in to a table where I get to complete some forms an’ wait fer my number to be called. No sooner I get done an’ my number comes up. Holy Toledo, that’s some service.

Of course, I’m waitin’ for some grizzly old matron with wrestlers arms an’ a giant spike needle to spear me, but no, I get “Cheryl”, my own personal nurse who smiles an’ asks after my health before she tells she’ll give me a little poke. Pffffft! She’ so pretty an’ friendly she could give me any size poke she wants! I wouldn’t a minded even if she’s hit me over the head with a sledgehammer. I’m still processin’ her big blue eyes an’ she’s already puttin’ a band aid on my arm, tellin me to go sit down for ten minutes before I leave, just to make sure I don’t keel over.

Well, I never! I didn’t see that comin’! Floatin’ back out to the parkin’ lot, I’m feelin’ nothin’ but happy at havin’ been to church, an’ havin’ my heavenly flu shot at the same time. I tell ya, I got to hand it to them Mennonites. They sure put one over on the Lutherans an’ the Catholics with their Thursday night bingo. They rent out the hall an’ furniture to the health authority, provide a few volunteers an’ Bob’s yer uncle! An’ they got a preacher there in his office to administer last rites in case somebody croaks, or to welcome new members if they don’t. A guaranteed income an’ they don’t even have to lead their adherents into gambling with their bingo stuff an’ questionable food. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Rhubarb in the Senate Sandbox


Rhubarb in the Senate Sandbox
 

Why is it that every time there’s a brouhaha in Ottawa it takes me right back to the old Brooklands schoolyard an’ some o’ the shenannnigans that went on there back in the day? Well it ain’t much different actually. You take the time for instance when Freddy Tataryn was feelin’ his oats an’ tryin’ to impress everyone. He was a new kid at school, kind of a big overgrown dandy with his hair waved just so an’ a cocky attitude that turned out to be more misplaced bravado than anythin’ else.

I can’t remember who he picked a fight with but I do recall him sayin’ he was goin’ to show this kid a thing or two. Well they commenced to proceed with the lesson an’ next thing you know, there’s Freddy, flat on his back in the dust an’ getting’ his face rearranged, an’ yellin’ somethin’ like, “C’mon you’se guys! Come an’ help! I can’t do this by myself!” We just laughed. I think somebody did finally go in to help and the two combatants were finally separated.

Freddy got up from the dirt an’ brushed hisself off. Not admitting that he’d just got the snot beaten outa’ him, he tended to take the position that he wasn’t afraid of the other guy, which was what he wanted to show us. What he actually proved was that he was an idiot. He hadn’t properly measured his opponent an’ it hadn’t occurred to him that he could end up at the bottom o’ the heap. Come to think of it, that wasn’t the point in his mind. He wanted to show us that he wasn’t afraid to take on anybody in the school, but when he called for help, he wanted it. We all agreed with everythin’ ‘cept the last part. I mean who in his right mind wants to get pummeled and punctured with clothes ripped an’ torn so you got somethin’ to answer for when you get home?

Well don’t that remind you of that rhubarb goin’ on in Ottawa? Ol’ Harper says he’s gonna fix them buggers once an’ for all. He’s gonna’ fire ‘em outa the Senate an cut them outa their pay! Well – them’s fightin’ words! ‘Specially if he’s gonna fire a couple o’ long time political journalists turned Senators. Them folks not only have very sharp spears, but I’m sure there’s a couple o’ tommyhawks under their suit coats too. If they don’t get their way, Ol’ Harper’s suit is gonna end up bein’ full o’ holes, an’ that’s a fact. It’s a good thing the carpet in the Senate Chamber is red. It’ll hide the blood stains inflicted durin’ this brouhaha. I just can’t wait for the entertainment to come from, of all places, the chamber of ‘sober second thought’.

Sober? I don’t think so. They’re all drunk with the perception of power. It’s strange though that they are all a part of the same family. Sort of reminds you of that movie “The Godfather”. It wouldn’t surprise me to see every one of them get the kiss of death before too long. It would be too bad too. We’re finally getting’ our money’s worth of entertainment out of that useless bunch o’ politicians. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’,

 

 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

I.Q vs, Common Sense


I.Q vs. Common Sense
 
There’s a big debate goin’ on over racial differences as they affect I.Q. I was quite intrigued with the discussions among a number of scholars citing studies and producing graphs to back up their claims. It wasn’t until I realized that some Frenchman invented the test around the turn of the last century that I realized that the standard was set to the European white society at that time. So the whole debate today is full o’ holes.

Well they said that the Australian Aborigines scored lowest on the comparison list, for example. Yet I remember a test done a number of years ago where a race across the outback between somebody on a motorcycle, another team in an overland vehicle, and an old Aborigine tracker walking on foot was held. You know of course that after about five days of racing the motorcyclist and the overland driver were each surprised to be greeted by the tracker who was already at the finish line. Go figure. Then just recently there was the little lost girl that nobody could find for about nine days with GPS, helicopters, sniffer dogs etc. Well another old tracker took off from the last place where the girl had been seen and within four hours returned with her in his arms. Go figure.

An’ then the Rogers Telecom System crashes an’ everybody is up in arms about it. I heard one lady say “What would we do in an emergency if we can’t get hold of anybody?” Can you believe that? Tell you what lady, in a situation like that, go to a person over seventy an’ ask them what to do. Once you get over the serious bump from them kicking your stupid I.Q. arse, they’ll tell you exactly what to do.

There was the time back in ’46 when the Weston Bakery employees decided to go on strike. Well holy Second World War all over again! No bread! NO BREAD? NO BREAD! What in the world would we do with no bread? The mothers wouldn’t be able to put peanut butter on them slices o’ cardboard they called bread no more. My mother never said a cussword in her life, but hearing this, she came about as close as damn at these idiot women who seemed to never have heard of baking your own darn bread.

So there ya go. I guess what we gotta do is to define this intelligence crap (or perhaps redefine it). It obviously has nothin’ to do with common sense. For my money you can take yer intelligence an’ stuff it where the sun don’t shine. Give me good old common sense any day. An’ that Frenchman who invented the I.Q. test, well he probably couldn’t bake a loaf o’ bread neither. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Malala Youstafzai


Malala Youstafzai

 

I don’t know if it’s a sad day when we have to look to a child to show us the way out of our human dilemma or it’s a good day when such a young person can inspire us. But then hasn’t it always been the way? Didn’t Buddha wander throughout the land as a young boy to meditate and learn all the things he needed to know to set out the basis to live by? And didn’t Jesus enter the temple at age twelve? And didn’t Joan of Arc lead the French armies to victory before being burned at the stake at age of nineteen?

And in recent times didn’t David Suzuki’s daughter address the United Nations on environmental issues that shocked everybody into paying attention? And then there was the Kielberg kid who one-upped Jean Chretien at the United Nations when he was just a little shaver.

Then of course, there is Malala Youstafzai, an ordinary Pakistani girl growing up in a beautiful neighborhood in Pakistan with a penchant for learning – until the Taliban showed up. They came, closed and bombed schools, murdered teachers and students alike and disallowed education altogether.

That was too much for Malala. They would not deny her or any of the other girls their education, so she began to speak out about it. Of course, you know the rest. She was targeted on a school bus going home from classes and shot in the head and left for dead.

Thanks to the heroics of the medical teams in the U.K. and the diplomatic services, Malala pulled through. She lost many things in the ordeal – her hearing in one ear, the sight in one eye and so on. But she never lost her focus on girls’ education, and she never gained an ounce of fear of her enemies. In fact if anything, she gained the ability to categorize them with laser precision. They’re afraid, she said. Knowledge is power and they’re afraid of that.

The whole business seems to have lit a fire in her belly to carry on and advocate on behalf of girls and women throughout the world. But make no mistake. This is not a child or young woman who has tunnel vision on only education. This is a young lady who possesses the emotions of most of us. When an interviewer asked her if her father would be angry if he adopted her, Malala, surprised by the inference, exploded in uproarious laughter and her smile lit up the entire room. Only a few moments before in the interview she was asked what her feeling was about the Taliban who targeted her. She said her first instinct was to take off her shoe and hit him with it. But then she thought that would only lower her to the same level as him. Instead she said she would also advocate for education for his daughters as well and he would do what he would do. She was not afraid.

From up here on the top shelf, all I can say is Wow! Let us never curb the aspirations or the inspiration of our children. They are our last hope for sanity in this convoluted world we’ve created. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Nurturung Nature


Nurturing Nature 

Seniors will outnumber children worldwide within thirty-five years! That’s what they said on the news this morning. How about that! Civilization is coming to a crashing halt in the foreseeable future. What the H E double hockey sticks? Don’t we know how to make babies any more? How in the world could that happen? How could we possibly screw up sex, I’d like to know.

Well, for one thing, we forgot what sex is for. Used to be that it was taken for granted that it was to reproduce our silly selves. Not no more! No sir! Civilization has come too far for that kind o’ nonsense. These days sex is used for entertainment, conquest between the genders, sales and marketing tools and everything else except its prime purpose. What the heck, there’s sperm banks, cloning technology, and even adoption opportunities of children from third world countries. There’s hundreds of ways to get babies.

An’ now, just in the nick o’ time to save our nurturing abilities before we forget them altogether too, we got our seniors outnumbering the little brats we used to produce to take their place. Now at least, these young people we produced will be able to nurture and care for their parents and grandparents. That’ll keep ‘em from losing the talent altogether. The bonus is that the parents will be able to tell the kids what’s wrong. That’s better than little infants who can’t talk anyway. They just cry so you gotta guess what’s bothering them an’ half the time you don’t get it right anyways. At least this way the old folks can tell you an’ you got a better chance of not screwin’ up. Of course that’s assumin’ they still got most o’ their marbles, the old folks that is.

Me, I’m lookin’ forward to the day when my children can pay total attention to me an’ the missus, lookin’ after our every need and whim. I just can’t hardly wait for to go racin’ down a hospital corridor against the missus, hell-bent for election to the finish line. I got my grandson picked out too. He can run like the wind and ain’t nobody can catch him.

Well an’ then there’s the business of feedin’ us. We got that covered too. One of our granddaughters is a registered dietitian an’ she’s already workin’ in long term care so that’s a no brainer. The only thing I ain’t figured out yet is the bathing an’ diaper changin’. They’ll have to draw straws for that. We just don’t care cause if there’s one thing we’re better at than the little infant children, it’s havin’ long naps. We can nod off on signal an’ never know what’s goin’ on ‘til what’s goin’ on has already gone on.

So it seems to me we’re lucky to have been born in a time when sex was used to produce children. We were blessed with a bunch of them an’ they in turn followed our example. So we’re a self-sufficient family unit an’ everybody else can go take care of their own business. At least that’s how it seems from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Oh Crumb!


Oh Crumb!

 

Oh crumb is right! I’m gettin’ so dang farn fed up with bein’ fed up with people an’ their antics, I’m fed up with it already! There ain’t no more pleasure in sittin’ here yellin’ at everybody, ‘specially since they don’t listen anyways. Besides, in Canada you got yer Rick Mercer rantin’ away at most o’ them and in “Murica” you got yer Angie Baldwin doin’ the same thing. Both these folks got laser aim at who needs yellin’ at. If they was in the Wild West Show, they’d be close competitors to Annie Oakley’s aim.

The point is, if I’m gonna rant about somethin’, it should be about somethin’ positive or upliftin’. The world is full o’ bitchin’ an’ bellyachin’ as it is. Well, where do I begin? I could talk about the father and son team who won The Amazing Race Canada. Tim Hague senior and his son Tim junior from Winnipeg came in first, an’ walked away with the whole kit an’ kaboodle.

What I wanted to mention about this is that Tim senior has Parkinson’s disease. If you know anything about that terrible ailment, you know that with it, you get to collapse like a sack of flour from time to time as the disease progresses. It has to do with brain degeneration. That’s only one of the ways the disease gets your attention. Kissin’ the floor or the pavement becomes a favorite pastime it seems.

But researchers have found that a point of focus will allow the sufferer to avoid the ‘kiss of floor’ syndrome. Like if you’re tryin’ to walk an’ nothin’ moves, you focus in your mind a march or a dance step. That suddenly trips a switch an’ you’re walking again. Only trouble is, you gotta keep you’re mind on the step or it’s straight down again. So you can imagine the concentration it took for Tim senior just to finish this race, never mind win it.

Well, and then there’s the second place finisher, Cory and Jody Mitic, two brothers. Jody doesn’t have a leg to stand on (since he lost them both in Afghanistan to a landmine) so he ran on prosthetics. No big deal!

And don’t let me forget the two little women who took third place, two sisters – Vanessa and Celine, one an actress and the other a fashion model. These two mini competitors wouldn’t physically amount to a hill o’ beans, but mentally - look out.

Well they all went at it hammer an’ tong, each one badly wantin’ to win the race. An it had nothin’ to do with the money neither. It was the challenge an’ the camaraderie that drove them to focus one hunnert percent. An’ you know what? In my book, every one o’ them is a winner! I’m getting’ a little long in the tooth to have that kind of focus, but I sure admire it. There! Now that was a story worth tellin’ an’ that’s the truth! At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Miley and Justin (America's Future)


Miley and Justin

(America’s Future)


Justin Bieber is obviously wearing his dad’s pants cause they’re too big for his tiny little juvenile bum. I just had a thought. Seein’ he wears them red jockey shorts underneath, why doesn’t he put them on over top of his pants? That way they’d stay up an’ he’d look like superman while he’s at it. Bet he never even thought about that! An’ Miley Cyrus can’t seem to get any sex other than with her microphone, and Robin Thicke was dressed as a referee rather than a singing partner.

What a pitiful sight these two icons of the music business present. Imagine how embarrassed their parents must be. They’ve raised a couple of real buffoons for gawd sakes! I don’t know if there’s a law allowing parents to revoke their parenthood, but observing these two, well, an’ maybe even Lady Gaga – but there ought to be. You ought to be able to declare these human disasters as orphans – hand them over to Child and Family Services. They’re forever looking to save somebody so who better than these nondescripts?

Well, I gotta be fair to these urchins. Somewhere in each of their woodpiles you’ll find a publicist of some sort hidin’, lookin’ for an opportunity of sensationalism to up their financial incomes. Hah! I’ll tell you what would be sensational in Justin Bieber’s case – if his old man were to come on stage durin’ one of his performances an’ pull the kid’s pants up so high as to give him such a wedgy that he’d be singin’ first soprano for the rest of the night. That’d larn the kid an’ his publicist.

An’ as far as that Miley Cyrus is concerned, that big smelly arse of hers is a perfect target for a trick I used to have with a wooden spoon. I’ll tell you, the result would be far more explosive than an orgasm with a microphone. Mind you, she wouldn’t have to worry about sittin’ down at the dinner table for a while.

But, them publicists are a wily lot. They must be the same ones that talk young Muslims into becomin’ suicide bombers. They pick up kids with a particular talent (an’ not too much else) an’ set them up for their own aims. “You can do it!” they say. “You’ll be a hero!”

Well, my suggestions would have as much impact as all that “naughty” stuff they’re pullin’ an’ would gain the respect of a much wider audience. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Grab a copy of my FREE ebook "Truthseeker" by going to Drivethrufiction.com 




Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Nelson Mandella Effect


The Nelson Mandela Effect

 

Did you ever wonder how that great leader of the ANC came by his visionary prowess? I never did neither. Why would I? But it came to me anyways – like a vision of my own. See I was sittin’ by the screen door leading to the balcony at our place, gazin’ out to the north over top the buildin’ next to ours, when it occurred to me that’s what it’s like lookin’ out the window when yer in solitary confinement in prison.

Well of course our place ain’t really like that. It just feels that way. See, we’re under construction – our balconies, that is. So what they done is nail a couple’a two by fours over the door so we can’t get out an’ fall off it or get in their road while they’re workin’.

That’s all well an’ good except for one thing. THEY’VE LOCKED ME OUT OF MY BALCONY FOR CRIMENY SAKES! Are they not aware that this is the place I go to meditate, where Nestor Kropatnik writes his letters to whomever, where I do my little woodworking projects, where I sneak out for the odd smoke? There ain’t no justice!

I guess Jodi Mitchell was right after all with that parking lot song of hers, sayin’: “You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til its gone”. Well it ain’t really gone. It’s sittin’ out there full o’ crud an’ dirt, hemmed in by a mighty scaffold, right on the other side of my screen door. It’s just that I can’t get on it. Oh, I could just go out the front door of the place and go for a nice stroll, or go to the park and sit in the grass, but hey, it’s not the same. IT’S NOT MY DAMNED BALCONY!

So I sit in front of the screen door and peer out, lookin’ at the sky an’ the buildin’s all around an’ meditate anyways. That’s what made me think of Nelson Mandela sittin’ in prison, peerin’ out his little window an’ dreamin’ about the freedom of his people from the oppression of Apartheid. Well it’s sort’a the same thing, except for the hard labor pickin’ at a rock pile or whatever else they done there. He must’a sat there starin’ out at the wild blue yonder thinkin’ about brave an’ noble things just like I do. Well he was finally freed an’ went on to do great things for his nation, while I’m still incarcerated behind the dang-farned screen door.

But my time’ll come when they finally tear them dad-blamed two by fours off it an’ I can once again step out over the threshold into freedom an’ meditate to my heart’s content. I may not be cheered on an’ hailed by the whole nation as its savior but at least I’ll once again hear that familiar refrain; “You take your blasted woodwork outside, No more whitlin’ in the house!” At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Michael


 Michael

I was thinking about writing a book about a remarkable young man who lived to the age of forty-two with a disease called neurofibrometosis. That was about thirty-nine or forty years longer than predicted. The reason I knew him so well was that he was the son of a lifelong friend of mine. It wasn’t until I attended the funerals of the young man and a few months later of his father, my friend that I decided to do it.

Having no idea of how to begin or what to say in my book, I let it write itself as it were. Of course I had to protect the identity of my friend an his son, so I decided on a fictional flight of fancy, inserting as much of their personalities and activities into the narrative as possible. It took a few months to get it all done, because the story kept taking unexpected turns and I could literally do nothing except try to keep up with it. I wasn’t sure of what I had written when it was complete until I started editing.

Each time I went through the book I discovered new revelations I hadn’t even realized. One of the most striking things I discovered was the tremendous contribution to society made by people with “disabilities” to the community as a whole. Doctors and nurses and caregivers of course make their living serving these people, but aside from making a living, the benefits that accrue to them as a result of this work are monumental. And the volunteers, often considered the heroes of social services are tenfold beneficiaries of the lives of the people they serve.

You could say that if anyone can make the world a better place, it would be people with “disabilities” and not the world leaders as we might expect. It kind of turns the world on its head and makes a mockery of the “top down” system of benevolence.

As a bit of a fatalist, I am grateful to be chosen to write this narrative an hope that I have given it a credible effort. I sincerely hope the reader will find the same revelations I did.

The eBook is available now at Nemsi Books http://www.nemsi-books.com/PubCompany/, and I’m sure that if you ordered the book in print, it will be available shortly. 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Obituaries


Obituaries 

The Missus and me was talkin’ about it the other day. Well, we’re getting to the age where we’re considerin’ buyin’ our tickets for the grim reaper’s bus. Not that we’re anxious to get on board or anythin’, but you gotta take care o’ business sooner or later, an’ the later is gettin’ shorter an’ shorter.

That wasn’t really the subject matter. We was yakkin’ about how many married couples we know can’t stand one another. Stayin’ together seems to be a giant grudge match of mammoth proportions. Nothin’ mind you, more than words in most cases, but the kind o’ words to make a longshoreman blush nevertheless. The venomous poison that comes out o’ their mouths can turn the air blue in no time flat. These people are married – to each other – and they’re mortal enemies.

Fast forward now to when one o’ them croaks after a bout of cancer or a stroke or heart failure. During the sickness nobody comes to visit other than friends. Husband/wife don’t come. Kids don’t come, and finally the patient expires and it’s game over, well all except the obituary. You suddenly discover, much to your amazement that the late spouse was a faithful and loyal husband (or wife), usually the love of the other’s life who died with his/her loving family by his/her side after a courageous battle with whatever was ailing them. Holy crap! Uncle Henry never ever had THAT much manure on his compost pile!

I remember our neighbor when we were kids, old Mr. Orlofsky who couldn’t work anymore since he’d lost his leg in an industrial accident. He’d putter around in his back yard with a pile of old lumber; piling and re-piling it while Mrs. Orlofsky would be in the garden doing her weeding. Well the constant verbal exchange was such that you never knew whether it was them or the feral cats that used to rule the alley where we lived. Of course it escalated in spring and fall when it was time to clean the stovepipes.

Well, low and behold, when the old boy finally bit the dust, they held him a grand funeral, even passing by the house one last time on the way to the cemetery and he was the finest husband and father to ever walk the face of the earth. How ‘bout that!

I don’t know whether it’s a perceived curse to speak evil of the dead cause they might come back to haunt you, or they were just B.S.ing in the first place. It’s hard to tell because nobody but the finest people show up in the obituaries – ever. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.  

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Geyserish Golden Years


The Geyserish Golden Years

 

Ha! And double ha! That’s what I say to the nostalgia perpetrated by the mind in bringing back memories of when we were young and carefree. Talk about living in the moment. Me an’ the wife done that this morning. We stepped out the door to take a four or five mile stroll to stretch our legs before the weather got too hot. We’re amblin’ along listenin’ to the songbirds, sayin’ good mornin’ to other walkers on our route an’ smellin’ the fresh air.

The first sign of old age shows up when a lady comes up behind us and sayin’ “good mornin’”. She adds: “You don’t put yer hands behind yer back. You have to swing yer arms to get yer blood movin’ to yer upper body.”

Oh crap! Now they’re tellin’ me how to walk – as if I didn’t already know how. Well, we go up over the bridge and turn into the walkin’ path (I’m now swingin’ my blasted arms) when we both look up at the sky. It don’t look all that friendly in the west all of a sudden an’ we’re only about a mile into our stroll. Oh well, a little rain don’t hurt nobody none. So we carry on.

About half way home the sky turns really dark and starts to spit some of the wet stuff on us and the wife smiles an’ says, “This is just like Holland when I was young. We loved to walk in the rain!”

She’s got a point. We used to walk in the rain too. Never thought anythin’ about it. Well it’s only water for crying out loud. It’s not poison or anythin’ like that! Actually, it’s kinda fun; nostalgic. The sky must’a read our minds because all of a sudden it got really dark an’ the rain drops got very large. By the time we got under the trees again, we were soaked pretty good. The wife is still smilin’. “That’s one thing off my bucket list,” she says. “I always wanted to go for a walk in the rain with you.”

Of course, by the time we get home, it quit rainin’. But now we have physics to deal with. Half the rain that fell on me is in my wool sweater that I wore and in my boots that only leak from the top and in my hat that only leaks from the top.

I manage to pull the forty-pound sweater off my back all right and peel my soakin’ wet pants off my skinny legs, even get my boots off. But my socks, now that’s a different story altogether. The thing is that when you’re getting dangerously close to eighty, yer legs grow a lot in length, takin’ their growth directly from the length of yer arms. So while yer figurin’ out how to get down that far to peel yer socks off yer feet without getting a horrible cramp in yer chest from pullin’ too hard, you get a horrible cramp in yer chest from pullin’ too hard. So by the time you recover from that excrutiatin’ bout o’ pain you realize you got another foot to peel yer sock off. Damn!

I suppose the long and the short of it is that relivin’ the memories in decrepit old bodies is a whole lot more painful than makin’ them in the first place. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

 

 

 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

False Courage


False Courage

 
False Courage
 
A number of years ago a fellow who had been a member of the KGB in what was then Czechoslovakia and had fled to Canada told me that we had no concept of the Eastern mentality. He probably would have been right had my ancestors not had several hundred years of experience with it. Their bones and ashes are scattered all the way from Chortitza to Kazakhstan to unknown destinations Siberia. To a degree, he had been right in that the owners of those bones had stood up for their beliefs and by and large become martyrs in the rest of the world. But for the Russians - they didn’t give a rip. They just kept murdering and killing and if you were lucky, exile to the far reaches of Siberia.

There has been more and more evidence over time that Vladimir Putin is the incarnation of Josef Stalin. As the former head of the KGB he has shown it time and again. Certainly he knows how to operate inside that system. His ability to negotiate himself into the presidency a second time and to rid himself of any opposition attests to the character of the person.

Given all that, just how does the gay community figure on making any human rights headway against that sort of government? I get the idea that the protesters have the lofty notion that protesting will show these thugs up and that no harm will come to them; that the Russian government will be shamed into compliance. Yeah – right. Not! They’re walking right in to the lion’s den when they go to the home country of the government they want to change its policy and they expect it to listen. That seems a little naïve to me. A country that sent Napoleon’s army packing, and the German army twice in a row isn’t likely to listen to a bunch of high minded protesters. It just doesn’t compute.

It seems to me a better plan would be to converge on the IOC en masse with a vengeance they have not known before and either shut the games down altogether or have them take action against the Russians: in other words pull the games from Sochi and ban the Russians from any future games. Its time those buggers sittin’ on their lofty thrones got pulled down a little bit. If they had any sense of fair play they’d have looked after this a long time ago, but they’re so busy preservin’ their profits, they got no time for human rights. It’s high time the athletes got their priorities straight and make their demands known where it counts – in the IOC, and if the IOC don’t respond, then withhold their services. After all, what are the Olympic games without athletes? At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

What's in a Name


What’s in a Name?

 

Holy crumb! Who’da ever thought that once you get a name hung on you, it sticks no matter what you do. The thing is that once you get used to using a particular name for a person, it doesn’t ever really go away. The other day I got a notice on facebook that it was Davita’s birthday. So like an idiot I said Happy birthday Kimmie. Well she used to be a Kim or Kimmie as we called her because she was so cute and tiny when she was a youngster. A couple of years ago when she showed up on my facebook page, she explained her name change to me, which was quite legitimate and actually quite a lovely story.

The very first friend I ever had in this world was my cousin Hilda. In fact, she was my only friend and we played together and made mischief together for the longest time. Well, we all grew up and went our separate ways. She moved out west, got married and suddenly became Katherine or Kate. What the – How’d that happen? I guess she didn’t like her first name so she uses her middle one. I suppose that’s legitimate too, but we met a couple o’ times in the last few years an’ I looked her in the eye an’ I can tell you, she was still Hilda, no matter what she calls herself.

You’d think I’d know how this works by now. But I didn’t even know my own wife’s name was Catherina until we started signing papers (like a marriage license). I knew her as Ria-which wasn’t her name neither. That was short for Maria, which was her middle name. Who knew? Turns out there’s more dad-blamed Katherines, Catherinas and Kates in our family than you can shake a stick at.

Well I don’t care what anybody says. Catherina is still Ria, Katherine is still Hilda and Davita is still Kimmie an’ you can take that to the bank!

I suppose I could start on the nicknames we used to all each other when we was growin’ up. Somebody started callin’ us by our fathers’ first names, unless we’d invented a better one – (like Juicy Selway or Mugga come to mind). It got so we didn’t know anybody’s real first name. I even get confused sometimes today.

Well gol dang it, I’ll call ‘em whatever they wanna be called but they ain’t gonna tell me what their real names are, cause I know. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Well - What's Next?

Mia Culpa!
A few months ago I believe I made a big mistake in publishing my blogs. Shane and I had set up my website called "Talking eBooks" and I began blogging on that site. It was supposed to be linked to this site. But I found that my international followers had dropped off altogether. That was not what I had intended. So, in order to correct the situation I decided to blog in both places until I get this figured out. I was trying to get more followers - not less!

So if you have any comments or suggestions, email me at vepp@mymts.net and let me have your thoughts. In the meantime, enjoy the blog.
Victor Epp


Well – What’s Next?

I’m tryin’ to figure out whether we have become immunized to the destruction that our governments and industry alike routinely pull on Canadian citizens, whether we just don’t care, or maybe we’re too dumb to know.

Until I heard the other day that during the 1940’s and 1950’s the government was experimenting with food deprivation of indigenous people, I didn’t know either, but then I ain’t the brightest star in the heavens neither. But then I got to thinkin’ it ain’t such a surprise. Wasn’t it in the 1960’s they were experimenting with certain mental patients with LSD. I remember that because Slaw Rebchuck’s wife was subjected to them experiments that caused her permanent damage an’ had a ripple effect on her family.

Well the whole business triggered a memory of my brother-in-law at the time who was studying animal food sciences. His thesis was based on deprivation of certain minerals from the animal’s diets to study the effects of these minerals on the animal’s body. The idea was to remove them incrementally one at a time and observe the health of the animals during the course of the experiment. When the animals got to a low point, he would reverse the procedure to see if they came back to full health.

It was a troublesome experiment though because his herd of fifteen cows had never been outside the barn before. They had to be examined daily to ensure they survived. Somebody, I don’t know who, left the barn door open one day and all fifteen of the critters got out in the yard and seein’ the outside world for the first time, stampeded and ran themselves to death. Well so much for that experiment! Not to be defeated though, my brother-in-law took on a small flock o’ sheep. Well these buggers didn’t escape, but they all croaked in the experiment. Notwithstanding all that, my brother-in-law still graduated and in fact went on to get his PhD in agriculture, albeit minus a herd o’ cows an’ a flock o’ sheep.

Well what I’m getting’ at is, what was the point of all of this experimentation on people. There was a great hue an’ cry about the fact that we even thought o’ doin’ such things to a particular segment of our population. But we never did find out the purpose of it, nor do we know what the results of it were. That’s what we want to know – IN DETAIL. Well, we also want to know who the jackass was that ordered this stuff so we can properly vilify him an’ hang his effigy in a rogues gallery for all to see. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Mia Culpa - My bad!

I feel I have to apologize to my readers everywhere for not telling you that I've switched my "Top Shelf" blog to my "Talking eBooks" website at http://talkingebooks.wordpress.com/. I am hoping that there will be more exciting things there for you to explore. Hopefully I will have new videos there weekly too. (I just changed it up a few days ago.

Thank you for understanding and I hope you enjoy your experience.

Victor Epp

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Moving Day for the Top Shelf

Well, you know how it is; every once in a while you gotta dust off the top shelf too. So you move all the pictures and trinkets thaat's up there and set the dust cloth to it. Then it occurs to you that there's a better place to put stuff - a top shelf where nobody sees the dust.

So that's what I done. I found a shelf in my Talking eBook site an' that's where I'm goin to be rantin' from from now on. Well, there'll be other stuff on there too which is the whole idea. so go to http://talkingebooks.wordpress.com/ for my nervous rants, an' check out what else is there of interest to you.

Who's Runnin The Show Anyway?


Who’s Runnin’ The Show Anyway?

According to press releases, P.M. Harper is peeved at the government for their inability to train skilled workers to fill thousands of vacancies that companies are begging to fill in Canada, and that blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Well what? Did he and his whole gang fall asleep again, or were they just not listening (again)? How many times do I gotta tell them for crimeny sakes?

Remember last fall when the tuition protests came up in Quebec? I told them then in no uncertain terms what should be done – that the companies hiring these post secondary students should pay the tuition, making it free to the students they would then hire. That would put them in the power seat of directing the labor force to their needs. Pretty simple, right? Obviously not. I don’t know who’s pushing that wheelbarrow full of rusty hammers. Ain’t nobody who knows how to steer the damn thing because the students are out there picketing again.

If you talk to the unions, you’d think that they’re the ones who run things in this town. Well obviously they do, otherwise you wouldn’t have so many vacancies in the labor trades market. Talk about shootin’ yerself in the foot. I don’t know who they were tryin’ to serve when they managed to change the ratio of apprentice to journeyman from four to one, to one to one. It was good for the tradesmen at the time, securing their employment, but now that they’re all retiring, there’s only a quarter of the skilled workers to take their places. The unions and management should’a had the spider webs removed from their brains a little earlier in the game.

Well you can’t really blame the workers. All they want is to be able to work and earn a decent living. But did you ever notice how they manage to have their union meetings on a Thursday or Friday evening – about 8:00p.m. after the members have had a chance to swallow down a few beers. That’s no accident. By the time the meeting gets started, the workers all think they own the company(s). So it’s quite easy for the union bosses to get a mandate to ask for the moon on behalf of their members. That’s how they keep their high payin’ jobs.

There ain’t no point in goin’ into the pile o’ meadow muffins that constitutes “labor negotiations”. That’s a whole new stack o’ manure.  But what I’m gettin’ at is that we have to import workers from overseas to do our work for us. Just the other day I saw a bunch of Irishmen at a pub in Saskatchewan, beltin’ back a few Guinness’s. They were brought over by the Saskatchewan government to fill some skilled labor jobs that couldn’t otherwise be filled. They were happy as could be, makin’ more money than back home, an’ Saskatchewan is a nice friendly place. Their employer even gave them the day off after St. Patrick’s Day. What more could they want? The Rough Riders wear green jerseys, and there’s even that tree somewhere near Regina or Saskatoon somewheres. But we can’t fill those jobs with Canadians. What the H E Double hockey sticks!

Well, it’s a little bit like the animals steerin’ the ark, while Noah has a good long nap. They ain’t never gonna find Mount Ararrat that way. They couldn’t even find Mount Arafat if there was one. If the Feds an’ the provincial governments got together an’ put the boots to management, the education system, and labor unions, they could easily get the job done. But you try tellin’ them that. What in the world would they do without their public enquiries or due diligence studies and all that political stuff? At least, that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

Just sayin’.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Fundamental Differences


Fundamental Differences

“Junk box!”

“Junk Box? Junk box? JUNK BOX? JUNK BOX?”

“Yeah, it’s nothing but a junk box.”

“That, my dear, uneducated wife, is a tool chest – a very valuable tool chest.”

The withering look I got was enough to melt the snow off Mount Everest. Where in the world did that come from? I had to move the chest to another place, which I suppose, brought it to her attention and she honed in on it like one o’ them heat seeking missiles.

Holy crap! There’s tools in there that are a hundert years old. And if that don’t count for somethin’. So what if I don’t use them every day (or even ever use them). They’re there in MY tool chest, right where they belong, and not in some junk box! Didn’t I use some of them tools to make her jewelry case, or the picture frames I made? I think it’s time I got a little respect around here.

But that ain’t even the real issue. It ain’t even about respect for men’s things. It goes right to the heart of what makes the world go ‘round. Well, just look at our own country for example. There’s women premiers all over the place, and what do you get? First thing you notice is the scrappin’ between Alberta and B.C. about oil revenues. Then you get the lady from Quebec who’s stuck her foot in it about language issues and post-secondary school fees. Nothin’ but trouble is what these women are boilin’ up. And now some committee in the U.N. comes out with a report that says Canada is number eleven in the hierarchy of developed countries. How in the H-E-double hockey sticks did that ever happen? We used to be number one for cryin’ out loud! Well, we men know for sure what happened. Nature and nurture – my foot! Squabble an’ trouble is more like it. Holy Hannah! How is the world goin’ to turn under matriarchal leadership? We’re goin’ to hell in a hand basket an’ the only thing them women got in their “tool chest” is needles an’ thread an’ crochet hooks. And the on the other side is lipstick an’ nail polish an’ essence of somethin’ or other. Talk about yer “junk box”. How’re you gonna fix anythin’ with that?

The women ought’a know by now that they got the power anyway. They even got this smug idea they are superior to men. Well lah dee dah, we know all that already. They been advertising it long enough. What’s to be gained by insults and put-downs? There’s a line in the sand there somewhere, and they wanna toe the mark if they know what’s good for them. Never you mind about the twinkle in the missus’ eye when she was giving me the gears. She’s getting’ awful close to the line and it’s a sensitive subject. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

 

Just sayin’.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The New World Energy


The New World Energy

Normally, when you think of grandchildren, you think of little ones you can bounce on your knee, kiss and hug them and send them back to mama. At least that’s how I envision them. I can’t seem to get that picture out of my mind somehow. Well, there’s a whole slug of them little buggers in my family. At least I thought they were little buggers ‘til the other day when I attended a family wedding.  Holy crap! They’re suddenly all in their mid twenties, all got significant others. Everybody is all dressed to the nines, men in suits and ties and the women in a variety of dresses.

I feel like I’ve been catapulted into the distant future. What in the H – E – double hockey sticks happened to my little grandchildren? All that’s left of them is a bunch of women chatting about fashions and diets and such like while the men are calmly discussing sports and politics and dissing the government. (Well at least they got that right). Me and the missus almost feel at home in this atmosphere. Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were part of that circle? Sadly, were really not. Good lord, their parents are even getting long in the tooth. They look like old people even to us.

What struck me about this whole scenario was the raw energy emanating from this small group of people. The sheer confidence as to their place in society was a little bit frightening. Did their parents teach them that? Is that what we taught their parents – our children? Holy mackerel! The air just vibrates around them.

Well, let’s do the math. People like me and the missus make up roughly ten percent of this little population. Their parents (our children) make up say, twenty percent. That leaves seventy percent of the world’s population of young, confident and forward-looking young whipper snappers who are soon about to take over the world. According to my count, that’s about four point nine billion people. Even if half of them are the kinds of losers we see every day on street corners and the like, that still leaves more than two billion movers and shakers. Now that’s a lot of energy with which to move the world forward.

 Thinking of it that way, things don’t seem quite so dire for the future of our precious children and grand children down the road. Not that I give a rip about it. I ain’t gonna be around that long anyway, but the whole notion of a continuing world is somehow comforting. The world has been around a long time and we as humans, in the grand scheme of things, have only been on the scene for about a minute or so. In that time, we’ve pretty well managed to ruin most of the things we’ve put our hands on. So the next generation to run the world is goin’ to need all that energy to fix the things we’ve screwed up.

Well, good luck to them with that! I don’t know how much more screwin’ up the world can handle, but I’m sure they’ll figure it out. At least, that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

 

Just sayin’.

 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Funerals


                                                                  Funerals

The wife was chuckling at a commercial on the TV the other day. It was one of them Insurance commercials where the lady was sayin that her friend was left with a ten thousand dollar bill for her mother’s funeral expenses. That was what struck the wife funny. She says, “Who would pay ten thousand dollars to give somebody coffee and a piece of cake?” Well, she’s got a point. Ten grand for a nice lunch and some kind words said about you when you’re not even there anymore – that seems a bit rich.

You got your embalming costs to make you look nice for the party, then you need a fancy coffin. The minister or priest who sends you off don’t come that cheap anymore neither. I don’t know – maybe that’s bribe money for him/her to say fine things about the dear departed, and probably make up some story as to where he/she goes in the spirit world.

Of course, the caterin’ don’t come for nothin’ neither. All them rolled up baloney sandwiches and little squares of cheese, with coffee or tea (if you want to call it that) pretty well takes off an arm and a leg. And who knows who might  show up for the funeral? Dollars to donuts there’s people linin’ up for a free lunch, like at a high-class food bank.

Oh and don’t forget about the interment neither. I swear they price them plots out by the cubic centimeter. The opening and closing of the grave is about twenty minutes with a backhoe, but they have a special rate for that too.

It’s easy to see how ten grand goes down the hole in a matter of minutes while the poor dear departed lies in the waterlogged ground awaiting the arrival of the maggots that will make short work of him/her. The wife is right. It’s a lousy investment.

Now there’s a place in Tibet, way up in the mountains, about as close to heaven as it’s possible to get while still havin’ your feet on solid ground. They got a special way to deal with this funeral stuff, and they don’t need no undertaker or nothin. It’s strictly a family affair. Well of course they make lunches and things for everybody to eat. They also got their own way of washing and preparing the body respectfully. Well, when all the rigmarole is said and done with, they load up the body and begin a trek up the mountain, even higher than where they live. They’re joined then by a man who is not a family member. He’s armed with a small axe that looks something like a tomahawk and he traipses along behind them.

Well, they hold another small ceremony up there above the clouds and start their hike back down the mountain, leaving the corpse right there on the ground for the guy with the tomahawk. He of course, hacks it all up into bite size pieces for the host of giant vultures circling overhead, and takes off himself. By the time they all get home, there’s no body left to worry about.

And that’s a pretty tidy way of gettin’ things done without a whole lot of expense or diggin’ holes in the ground. The Insurance companies would have a tough time sellin’ their policies in that society. At least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.

 

Just sayin’.